UPDATE: Gatton Academy expansion

Crews have started removing some of the landscape surrounding Florence Schneider Hall in preparation for the building’s expansion. The building houses students of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science.  The Hall could previously hold around 120 students, but is expanding that number to 200. 


The expansion of Florence Schneider Hall, which houses the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is underway. Schneider parking lot closed down Wednesday, May 20 in preparation for construction.

The purpose of the expansion is to accommodate more academy students throughout the school year—hoping to increase the amount of students the academy can hold from roughly 120 students to around 200.

Funds for the project are coming in part from $2 million in state-allocated money.

Though the vast majority of students who arrive in the fall won’t be affected by the project, there are two demographics that will. 

Obviously Gatton academy students will notice a change—the high school students will be uprooted from the Florence Schneider temporarily until the project’s conclusion, and will be moved into Bates-Runner Hall. Housing and Residence Life director Brian Kuster said that Bates was chosen due to its likeness in size as well as its similarity in living arrangement setup.

Because Gatton students will be occupying Bates, this will displace the upperclassmen that planned to live in the dorm.  Those upperclassmen will be moved to Gilbert. Those students will receive a slight downgrade in arrangements—losing the private bathroom luxury that Bates offers for a community-style bathroom (two per floor). 

The initial announcement of the project last October was met with criticism, especially from the student body and Student Government Association senator Cole McDowell.

“I think students were very upset about this issue,” McDowell said after authoring a resolution last November. “They said that their voice wasn’t represented.”

McDowell did not condemning the project or its goals, but instead scrutinized the way in which the project was undertaken.

“The resolution is definitely in response to the displacement of students from Gilbert Hall and Bates-Runner Hall… The resolution isn’t a judgment on the decision. I’m not trying to oppose the decision that was made,” McDowell said. “What I am saying is that in the future, let’s set a precedent of discussing these matters with the Student Government Association and the administration at Western so that we can foster a more productive relationship in the future.”

The resolution was unanimously passed.

A date has not yet been set for the project’s conclusion, but with the reallocation of students, it is expected to continue on into the fall semester.